The Price of a Drug Prescribed to Infants in Canada Jumped 2000% Overnight

Not to be outdone by AIDS drug extortionist Martin Shkreli, a highly profitable Dublin-based pharmaceutical company enacted its own overnight price-gouging scheme when it raised the price of a drug from $33 to $680 a vile.

The drug in question is Synacthen Depot, which is used to treat infants in Canada suffering from a rare form of epilepsy, called infantile spasms or West syndrome, that is potentially fatal. Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children treats the illness as an emergency and is particularly outraged about the sudden price surge.

“This was just dropped like a bombshell,” said Sick Kids neurologist Dr. Carter Snead. “They just bought it and jacked up the price.”

More problematic is that insurance companies and public health plans could be reluctant to cover the high cost of Synacthen Depot, which works 90 per cent of the time. It has already been delisted by Alberta, which means the province is no longer obligated to pay for it.

Mallinckrodt, which owns the rights to Synacthen Depot in Canada and was recently slammed for having more downside than the Enron of pharmaceuticals, justified the raise due to “a change of manufacturing.” The global pharmaceutical company admitted the drug has been losing money since acquiring it in 2014, so yeah, this is about turning a profit. Sounds familiar.

That matters of public health are still tied to the forces of free markets and corporate greed is simply absurd and something we wish could be changed soon.